Managing testosterone levels
THIS second of 12 articles on testosterone deficiency syndrome discusses trends in androgen replacement therapy in men
Many catchy marketing taglines present a seemingly “effective and fast” solution testosterone replacement for common lifestyle problems and stress faced by men.
Inevitably, testosterone is also linked to men’s basic instinct (desire) and performance, or the lack of them in the bedroom.
What is Big T?
The “T” here refers to testosterone (also called an androgen), which is responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics and male sexual organs.
It is also important for muscle and bone growth and the maintenance of muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, a sense of well-being and sexual function, as well as competitive drive, stamina and general outlook on life. Testosterone also makes the veins under the skin more prominent and reduces fat levels in the body.
Testosterone deficiency in men means the body has lower than average levels of male hormones, particularly, testosterone. It can occur at any age.
Obesity, diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome can accelerate the decrease in testosterone levels. Men of any age can also suffer from adrenal insufficiency, a leading factor in insulin resistance and low testosterone levels.
The diagnosis and treatment of low testosterone (Low T) might require a couple of confirmatory tests. Treatment mainly involves testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Oral forms of TRT are generally discouraged because it causes significant liver toxicity and increases the risk of benign prostatic tumours.
Nonetheless, before turning to TRT, you should familiarise yourself with the side effects and health risks.
Advertisements do mention potential side effects. However, most have failed to mention an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, where a group of men with an average age of 74 using testosterone gel had higher incidences of cardiac, respiratory and dermatologic events, which led to the early termination of this large study at Boston University School of Medicine.
The advertisements also don’t highlight how risky exposure to testosterone gel is for others, including female partners, children and even pets.
For men who misuse large doses of testosterone for anabolic effects, the risk of side effects increases significantly.
The reported side effects of TRT are due to the use of exogenous testosterone.
Prolonged use of TRT prompts the pituitary gland to stop producing the hormone gonadotropin. This, in turn, suppresses normal (endogenous) testosterone and sperm production.
Testofen is a unique fenugreek seed extract standardised for 50% Fenuside patented and owned by Gencor Pacific Group Inc, US. Testofen has the ability to help enhance libido and improve muscle mass, properties not seen in any other currently available non-standardised fenugreek extracts.
One published paper showed that Testofen demonstrated both androgenic and anabolic properties.
During a clinical trial for arthritis using fenugreek seed extract (Trigonella foenum-graecum), participants reported an increase in libido.
It was found that the seed extract used came from a region in India where unique soil, moisture and atmospheric conditions caused a high concentration of specific saponins (furostanol glycosides) in the seeds producing the libido-enhancing effect. That discovery, coupled with the unique processing and extraction methods employed, resulted in the development of a patent called Testofen.
Other than supplementation, there are two other ways to increase one’s testosterone levels, which are lifestyle and diet changes.
For details, call 03-5638 3660 or e-mail ask-Prime@cambert. com.my. To find out whether you need help, take the Ageing Male Symptoms (AMS) questionnaire at www.myprimesurvey.com.my. Alternatively, log on to www.myprime.com.my or www. facebook.com/my.ThePrime.
Testosterone is responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics.